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Bargain Lady
  #1  
Old 07-12-2006, 08:52 PM
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Kogarashi Kogarashi is offline
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Default Bargain Lady

Decided to post another of my retail-slave anecdotes.

My second and third summers were spent at Wal-Mart as a cashier, rather than a Toy associate, since cashiers got a bit of a pay raise and didn't have to walk all over the store for 8 hours a day. I actually quite liked it, but working the front-end also meant I got to deal with all sorts of people--from nutjobs to shopping angels--and couldn't pass them off to a different department.

One of my favorites (term used loosely) was someone I'll dub the Bargain Lady. She came through my line my first summer as a cashier, when I still had the "trainee" badge hanging from my nametag. I could tell the transaction wasn't going to go smoothly from the start, mostly because she had that permanent "grumpy" look to her face and those types rarely deal well with my cheerful approach to cashing out customers.

The purchase started with a few dressy clothing items, each of which had no less than five price stickers on them. I could tell just by looking at the stickers that several had been peeled off of somewhere else and slapped on. most of the peeled stickers were the red-and-white clearance tags, rather than the store's "regular-price" lime green or bright yellow price stickers. I shrugged, figured the inventory system would handle things, and scanned the barcodes.

The lady immediately complained about each and every one ringing up the wrong price. I looked at the stickers again, and refrained from pointing out that the clearance sticker on one was actually more expensive than the regular price sticker underneath it. Instead I called a CSM. As anyone who's been to Wal-Mart usually knows, that's done by flicking the light on the register to blink and then waiting for the red-vests to notice. Meanwhile, I removed the offending clothing items from the bill and continued to check out the other items.

Well, these next items were supposedly on sale at another store, or so said Bargain Lady. Wal-Mart does price-matching, but we usually require the competitor's ad so we can check sale times and prices specifically. The exception was bananas, which all the cashiers knew were perpetually cheaper at Aldi's one or two towns over. We also need the ads because occasionally they'll say something like "Buy one, get one free," but won't have a price to buy the one at, and we can't honor those. We also don't match %-off sales.

So I ask the lady for the ads. She doesn't have them. I ask her which stores, so I can check with the pile of ads we keep at the registers. She doesn't remember. But she said "I already talked to CSM Mary and she said it was okay this once." I sigh, and wait for the CSM some more. Meanwhile, I ask what isn't on sale or price-matched so I can finish ringing the lady out.

Finally, the CSM (Robin) gets there, and I explain the two situations to her. She asks for the name of the approving CSM, and Bargain Lady mentions it again. Robin looks at me and says, "well, Mary went home already, so let it go this once." She then turned to the lady and explained that next time, Bargain Lady would have to remember to bring the ads with her or we wouldn't match the price. Robin then goes with the lady to check the rack signs for the disputed clothing. I wait a while longer, since I didn't have a line at the moment.

After a bit they come back, a deeper scowl on Bargain Lady's face. Robin gives me a bit of a knowing smirk, pulls the loose stickers off the clothing, and tells me that what the barcode says goes. (Now that's a cool CSM.) The lady scowls through the rest of the transaction and huffs off as I toss a cheery "have a nice day!" after her.

The kicker? One week later I was working one lane over from a new associate who was told to ask me for help with anything she didn't know how to do. She gets my attention and asks how to do a price override. I look up, and there's Bargain Lady. Who immediately recognizes me and scowls deeper. I excuse myself from my line for a moment (explaining the new associate situation to my wonderfully understanding customers), and explain to the new associate that we can't match the prices without the ads. Bargain Lady didn't have sticker-swapped merchandise this time, so that trouble was out, and she ended up having to pay the same price as everyone else that day. ::silent cheer::

Turns out she was a fairly well-known regular in the store, who always went to an associate she didn't recognize and assumed was new to take advantage of their ignorance over price-match and clearance policies.
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"Enough expository banter. It's time we fight like men. And ladies. And ladies who dress like men. For Gilgamesh...IT'S MORPHING TIME!"
- Gilgamesh, Final Fantasy V

  #2  
Old 07-12-2006, 11:11 PM
Sacknahalf05 Sacknahalf05 is offline
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I have my own story about "sticker-changing" people from my short stint as a Wallyworld cashier. I had heard from another associate that there was a group of girls going to the different departments trying to use a check. Not a check in a checkbook, but just a single, folded check. They didn't have any id, either.

I waited patiently, and sure enough, they came thru my line. Four girls, no more than 18-19 years old, and 3 toddlers with them. They had a CARTFUL of clothes, shoes and housewares. So I start ringing them up. I immediately notice that the prices are not ringing up ANYWHERE near what they should be (such as a throw blanket carrying the emblem of our state's NFL team ringing up for 2.99, a pair of toddler's shoes with name brand characters on it ringing up for 1.00, etc). While ringing up some of the clothing items, I can plainly see the rips in the tags, where they were pulled off the little plastic thingies that attach to the clothes, and pushed onto another (more expensive, mind you) item. Also, it's not hard to read a description on the scanner and know that it's not matching the item. So, I started taking the clearance stickers off and running the original bars thru. The girl holding the check sees what I'm doing and asks me what's going on. I told her "These aren't the correct prices, I'm ringing up the correct ones". She says ok, but she only has 100 dollars to spend, so to quit ringing up items there. So I ring up to 100 dollars, and she produces the single check. I tell her I'm gonna need some id (noticing, funny enough, there's an obviously male name on the check, and there's not any men in this party). The girl tells me she doesn't have any, and I then tell here I cannot process the check without it. She starts to get huffy, and I tell her to hold on just one minute while I get a manager over there, to see what they can do. The girls suddenly says "screw it, we're not gonna deal with it" and they all leave, without the items.

They way I look at it, I just saved the company a bunch of money by not just letting them walk out with a bunch of merchandise. Did anyone else see it that way? Probably not, cause I never got a thanks from anyone. Thank God I wasn't there very much longer.

  #3  
Old 07-13-2006, 01:18 AM
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Kogarashi Kogarashi is offline
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Sounds like you got the smarter wannabe-thieves. They at least thought to switch the barcodes (though obviously not with a similar-enough item to get the description to fly with the cashier), and not press the issue when you caught them.

Pity you didn't keep the check and try to call whoever it was whose name was on there. Something tells me it was either an unaware husband/boyfriend/father, or a case of identity theft.
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- Gilgamesh, Final Fantasy V
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